Mood, motivation and movement are regulated by circuits in the anterior brainstem – an evolutionarily old part of the brain. We are interested in the neuronal cell types of the brainstem, and how their heterogeneity arises during embryonic development. In particular, we study the gene regulatory cascades establishing distinct neuronal identities. Information on brainstem neurons, and their subtypes, is essential for understanding the function of the brainstem circuits and the vital behaviors they regulate.